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PNC Cash Rewards Visa Review

PNC Cash Rewards Visa Review

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This article was last updated Jan 23, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

If you’re looking for a no-annual-fee credit card that earns an excellent cashback rate on gasoline purchases, a strong rewards earning rate on dining out at restaurants and a decent cashback rate on grocery store purchases, the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® is worth a look. We broke down the pros and cons of the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa®, and how to get the most value if you decide to add it to your wallet.

PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® pros

Generous rewards. This card earns 4% cash back on gas station purchases, 3% on dining, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. There’s an $8,000 annual spending limit (in combined purchases) on the higher cashback rates, after which you’ll earn 1% on all purchases. The cap resets each cardholder anniversary year, not on a calendar year basis.

0% intro APR on balance transfers. The PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles when the balance is transferred within the first 90 days following account opening. After, an APR of 14.49% - 24.49% variable applies. While this isn’t the longest balance transfer 0% intro APR period you’ll find, it’s a solid one.

The balance transfer fee is reasonable if you act quickly: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater, for the first 90 days following account opening. After that, either $5 or 4% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.

Additional PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® benefits

Sign-up bonus. Earn a $100 bonus after you make $1,000 or more in purchases during the first 3 billing cycles.

No annual fee. This card earns cash back at a generous rate, and thanks to the $0 annual fee, your rewards are net gains from the very first dollar you spend as long as you don’t carry a balance.

Helpful online calculator. Want to see how much cash back you might be able to earn with the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® based on your spending habits? PNC provides a helpful online calculator where you can plug in your estimated monthly spending for gas, dining, grocery store purchases and other purchases, to help you see how much cash back you’re likely to earn in a year.

PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® cons

Rewards are capped. The higher cashback rates on this card apply to your first $8,000 in combined purchases each year. After that, the rate drops to 1% cash back. To get the most out of this card, it could be smart to pair the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® with another credit card.

For example, when using the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa®, gas and dining charges both earn higher cashback rates than groceries. You could use the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® for gas and dining purchases and use a card such as the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express for your grocery shopping. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. Terms apply. Cash back can be redeemed as a statement credit.

To see rates & fees for Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express please click here.

Read: Best Grocery Credit Cards

However, if you don’t want to juggle multiple credit cards — or don’t think you’ll hit the $8,000 annual spending limit with the highest categories alone — it might make sense to use the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® as your main card for all spending.

There’s a $25 minimum redemption. While $25 is a common minimum redemption amount among rewards cards, there are cards that allow you to redeem rewards at any amount. For example, you can redeem cash back earned on the Discover it® Cash Back with no minimum.

  • Earn up to $250 in statement credits. Terms Apply.

  • 3% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases

  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.

Highlights
  • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card membership, up to $150 back.
  • Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of card membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores.
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

More Info

  • 0% for 14 months on purchases and Balance Transfers, then 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR.

  • 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically*

  • Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

Highlights
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • #1 Most Trusted Credit Card according to Investor’s Business Daily.
  • No annual fee.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • See Rates & Fees

See additional details for Discover it® Cash Back

More Info

Compare it to the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.

  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

  • 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), 1% cash back on all other purchases

Highlights
  • No annual fee 
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening 
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases 
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers 
  • No expiration on rewards 
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 5.25% cash back on purchases in your choice category. 
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap 

See additional details for Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

More Info

Another card that has a generous cashback rate for gas purchases is the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card. Let’s take a look at how it compares with the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa®:

PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Rewards 4% cash back on gas station purchases, 3% on dining, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. There’s an $8,000 annual spending limit  (in combined purchases) on the higher cashback rates, after which you’ll earn 1% on all purchases. 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Sign-up bonus Earn a $100 bonus after you make $1,000 or more in purchases during the first 3 billing cycles. $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Annual fee $0 $0
Foreign transaction fee 3% of each foreign transaction amount in U.S. dollars. 3%
Regular purchase APR 14.49% - 24.49% variable 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

The PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® earns a higher cashback rate on gas than the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card, but the latter has a higher spending limit before it drops your rate down to 1% ($2,500 per quarter is $10,000 a year). If you were to max out the highest-earning categories on both cards, you could potentially earn $320 cash back with the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® or $300 cash back with the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card. But don’t forget the sign-up bonus on the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card is higher.

Where the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card stands out, however, is in its flexibility. While the 3% category defaults to gas, you get an opportunity to change it monthly to any one of six choices (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings). That’s a great feature in case your spending habits change over time.

Both of these cards do charge a foreign transaction fee. If you plan to travel outside the United States, leave these cards at home and take a card such as the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, which earns 3% cash back on dining and entertainment; 3% cash back on popular streaming services; 3% cash back at grocery stores; 1% cash back on all other purchases. plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at vivid seats through january 2023 and charges a foreign transaction fee of none.

Maximize your cash back

While there are cards that earn up to 5% cash back, they generally require you to activate rotating categories each quarter, and will drop your rewards rate down to 1% after you’ve spent $1,500 in the 5% cashback category for that quarter. If you want to earn generous cash back without having to activate rotating categories — and if you spend heavily on gas, restaurants and grocery store purchases — the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® is an excellent choice.


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